Friday, February 3, 2012

Mapping the Future

 Being an adventure cyclist who travels into unfamiliar territory, maps are of the utmost importance to me.  Just feeling the texture of a well made and neatly laminated map gives me pleasure.  All those earthy colours, the contour lines that depict elevation.  Wonderful stuff.

While pedalling through the woods, I'm constantly consulting the map underneath the clear plastic map pocket on the top of my Arkel handlebar bag.  I always want to know where I am and it pleases me to adopt different strategies due to changing conditions and circumstances.
A practical and well made handlebar bag

Or go to the Adventure Cycling Association website and check out their maps and map accessories - they offer a large easy - to -read map holder that fits right onto your handlebars where you can check it easily to make route decisions.  While I haven't actually seen one of their maps, I've come across a lot of reviews of their colourful and informative guides.  Mark Beaumont, in his quest to make the fastest bicycle trip around the world used maps from the Adventure Cycling Association when he was crossing North America.

One of my favourite authors and world travel writer - Bill Bryson mentions the Ordinance Survey maps that he relied on constantly in his travels from one end of Britain to the other.  His book "Notes From A Small Island" is a funny and interesting read. 

I'm travelling to London soon where I plan to rent a bike and not wanting to get lost in that metropolis, I stopped into the best place for maps here in town (Map Depot) owned by my friend Lewis.  When I couldn't decided which one of the very detailed maps that I should purchase, he let me take a handful home and suggested I spread them out and consult my guide books and choose the one that included the most places we want to visit.  The following picture shows the time consuming method I used to find the map I wanted. The map with the most sticky notes won.  And of course I'll pay for the winner and return the ones I rejected.  Lewis is a fine fellow and he has a business to run after all.

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